Monday, August 5, 2013

Prescription Bluegrass Reviews RED from Italy’s Red Wine

Image635113095274358968RED is the new CD Album from Italian Bluegrass Band, Red Wine.

This group of talented and dedicated players have been together for thirty-six years, through many personnel changes, though their Musical philosophy has always remained firmly rooted in hardcore Traditional Bluegrass.

If you were to hear the opening notes of almost any song or tune on this album, you might very well believe you were listening to any of the ace American Bands like Kentucky Thunder or the Del McCoury Band, and it’s only when it comes to the vocals that you might twig the fact that these guys are not from TN or NC.

By this I do not imply any criticism, it’s just that of all the great sounds they make, the only ones you might have to adjust your ears for are the sounds of the singing voices. Bear in mind too, that these guys are not singing in their native tongue, but their Latin origins do imbue them with a passion for what they sing and play, and this quality comes out on every track.

Martino Coppo sings lead on most tracks, and plays superb, solid and tuneful Monroesque style Mandolin throughout, injecting his playing with his own distinctive sound, and in all probability, drawing also from the great tradition of Mandolin playing from around his own home City of Genova.

Silvio Ferretti plays five-string Banjo in Scruggs style, but in common with Martino, he adds his own distinctive touch, and as they say around these parts, plays’ as clean as a whistle’.

Lucas Bellotti plays rock-steady Upright Bass, and Electric Fender Jazz Bass, while also contributing Harmony Vocals on several tracks.

The youngest member of this ensemble is Marco Ferretti who plays his Martin D-18 in the style of Tony Rice/Doc Watson/Dan Crary, and also lends some fine Harmony Vocals.

Standout tracks for this listener are Cabin on a Lonely Hill, Someday You Will, composed by the late Liz Meyer, the Ernest Tubb Classic, Letters Have No Arms, For No One, by Paul McCartney, and a super version of Fiddle and Bow. Now here I have to declare an interest, because Fiddle and Bow was written by yours truly with Keith Sewell, and we are both delighted with Red Wine’s version of our song, and there’s a bit of a story as to how it came about ........

Submissions - Niall

A couple of years back Keith Sewell finished a tour of Europe with Lyle Lovett’s Band, and came to visit me in Ireland for a few days, during which we wrote a bunch of new songs. One afternoon, while waiting for the MUSE to visit, I was showing Keith a copy of an old PICKIN’ magazine, with a great article on the Gibson Company by Roger Siminoff, and as I handed it to him, it fell on the floor between us, and fell open at the REVIEWS section [1985] and lo and behold, there was a review of Keith’s Grandfather’s Band, the Shady Grove Ramblers from Texas ! We both sprang into action and wrote this little song about Keith’s Grandfather, painting a picture of a young man [ Keith] sitting on the floor, listening to the Band rehearsing. I gave it to Martino at the Bluegrass Festival in the Ulster-American Folk Park, and lo and behold, Red Wine cut the song here.

Track 7 on this CD gives a great flavour of the Band’s own native Music with a Mamma Mia Melody, and if you happen to be of Italian extraction, this will bring a tear to your eye.

All in all, if you were looking for an introduction to European Bluegrass Music, you could not go far wrong with this album.

It’s a sign of the respect that Red Wine command when you see that their guests here include a contribution from the great Tony Trischa, who also writes the sleeve notes. They also tour extensively, and are regular visitors to Bluegrass Festivals in the US. They will also be at IBMA 2013 in Raleigh, NC. Look out for Red Wine live in your area. They represent the very best of the European Genre of Bluegrass Music. Enjoy your Red Wine ........

[Stars out of 10]   9.5  ★★★★★★★★★☆


CD available from and from iTunes

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